My 5 P.M. appointment was an Exotic Septuagenarian, and did she ever take me for a ride.
My recent 5 PM appointment was a brief break from real estate as the Collings Foundation stopped off at the Purdue University Airport in West Lafayette, Indiana to give the community a chance to view and even ride some living history from World War II: three bombers and perhaps the most beautiful fighter plane ever built.
My 5 pm appointment was a ride in the B-25 Mitchell medium bomber best known for its desperate and one way mission in April 1942 in the famous Doolittle Raid over Tokyo.
The raid did little damage but it was a huge moral builder during a desperate time when Japan was unstoppable in its Pacific conquests.
The B-25 bombers and their crews accomplished more than they would ever know as it forced the Imperial Japanese Navy to strike Midway Island six weeks later leading to their disastrous defeat at The Battle of Midway which was the turning point in the Pacific War in June 1942.
As a real estate broker in West Lafayette, Indiana it was amazing to view the different subdivisions from the air from my 5 pm appointment to fly in the B-25 Mitchell bomber.
University Farm Subdivision (left) in West Lafayette home to about 600 households and the Arbor Chase Subdivision (right) and its 2 acre pond lined by executive homes to the west and patio homes to the east.
We flew at a couple of thousand feet at 160 knots north to White County and observed the endless farm crops in Tippecanoe and White County: corn, beans, and wind!!!!
We can not even begin to thank and respect enough these brave men who flew in such confined quarters for missions that lasted for countless hours over heavily defended airspace in North Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Why even some lithe high school kids had to "suck it in" to get through this very tight passage through the bomb bay rack in the B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber.
For those of you wondering YES, I did make it through! ^_~
The famous Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was a main attraction and a very popular plane for visitors to ride in! Those engines purred like a kitten!
The B-17 was incredibly sturdy and known to survive incredible punishment from flak and enemy fighters.
The heavily armed B-17 bomber could pack 13 fifty caliber machine guns and yet it was still no match for the Luftwaffe fighters.
Before the long range fighter escorts later in the air war over Germany the odds were against a bomber crew reaching 25 missions.
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was actually the unsung hero of the US heavy bomber fleet during WW II as it had a greater range and bomb payload than the more famous B-17.
The famous P-51 D Mustang helped win the air war over Germany with its incredible long range, maneuverability, and speed!
If the Collings Foundation comes to your community with its historic World War II airplanes you just might have the opportunity to FLY the most beautiful fighter ever built, and you don't even have to have a pilot's license!
Cost? It is $3,200 for an hour and 80% of the cost is tax deductible.
Oh by the way, for those of you of a certain age do you recognize the likeness of the movie star pictured here?
You can also fly this beauty without a pilot's license for an hour. The question is did I or didn't I . . . . or was I just a passenger?